Uncovering the secret lives of salmon

An international team of scientists is heading to the Gulf of Alaska for a ground-breaking research survey to uncover the secret lives of Pacific salmon in the winter.

Discoveries coming out of a 25-day research cruise using a trawler in the North Pacific are expected to help countries do a better job of managing, conserving and restoring salmon stocks, including improving forecasting of returns.

“I say it’s the great black box because we basically lose track of the salmon after they leave our coastal waters,” said Brian Riddell, president and chief executive of the Vancouver-based Pacific Salmon Foundation, a key backer of the endeavour.

“We talk about marine survival, but we only cover a small portion of their life in the marine environment.”

All North Pacific countries with Pacific salmon carry out research in coastal waters and near their shores. But there’s never been a comprehensive survey of this scope in the winter in the Gulf of Alaska, Riddell said.

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